For much of our history, more than half the world’s population has been institutionally silenced. A wealth of stories have been lost to that silencing. Thankfully, in the past century – and even the past decade – those forces have begun to slowly abate, and for that, the literary tradition has been enriched. But even in 2020, writers grapple with the telling of experiences hitherto lost to time. How do we honor the lost voices of women and people of color, for example, while also exploring the modern creative voices of individuals in these groups?
This Women’s History Month, we would like to focus on a few UPK authors who have relentlessly worked to re-surface vital, untold experiences, while also adding new, necessary perspectives to the mix: their own. The UPK catalog has a myriad of these stories, from stories of interpersonal grief and trauma, to scholarly re-examinations of the intersection of class and gender.
To enjoy a piece of that history yourself this Women’s History Month, take a look at some of our most recent women-centered and women-authored releases.
“Wanting Radiance weaves a beautiful tale of Miracelle Loving’s pursuit for identity, populated by tarot cards, southern diners, fiddle players, tattoos, and the sweet night air on roads to nowhere. McElmurray’s dreamy language transcends this plane to bridge the liminal spaces between the past and present, life and death, who we were and who we might become.” – Liz Prato, author of Volcanoes, Palm Trees, and Privilege: Essays on Hawai’i
In a world cultured by supernaturality, WANTING RADIANCE explores a highly natural bond: that which exists between a mother and daughter. Using deft prose, McElmurray creates Miracelle Loving, a part-time fortune-teller whose life strays following the unexpected death of her mother. After spending her young adult years as a listless card reader, Miracelle starts to hear a familiar voice that she thought would be gone forever. Driven by a need to understand who killed her mother – and what her life should look like in the aftermath of that act – Miracelle follows the winding trail left by her mother’s ghostly voice on an unforgettable magical road trip.
While situated inside a fascinating world of magic and power, McElmurray’s WANTING RADIANCE is equally spellbinding in its vivid relationships and characters. Miracelle’s heartbreak climbs through the page; her triumphs are our triumphs. Experience that triumph for yourself and pick up a copy of McElmurray’s most recent novel here.
“Don’t let Beverly Bell fool you: She must have been reporting live in 1941 from Lexington’s most notorious crime. Bell writes with a golden erudition and preternatural imagination that keep the wide-eyed reader up all night – think Truman Capote.” – Patty Friedmann, author of Where Do They All Come From?
In 1941, Marion Miley was at the height of her golfing career, having won ever women’s tournament but the national title. She was only 27 years old and one of the world’s greatest living golfers. But on the night of September 28, six gunshots rang out at the Lexington Country Club and ended Miley’s career – and life. Miley’s murder left a sprawling mystery in its wake, one that Beverly Bell maneuvers masterfully through nearly a century later in THE MURDER OF MARION MILEY. Oscillating between the perspective of Miley’s father, best friend, and killer, Bell tells a new, compelling story of tragedy and true crime.
“Birdwhistell and Scaggs offer a valuable, woman-centered view of the University of Kentucky’s early history. Stretching over seven decades, grounded in oral history, and filled with colorful stories of individual women, Our Rightful Place provides readers a tantalizing peek into the day-to-day experiences of the women who worked and studied at Kentucky’s flagship university, documenting their efforts to carve out a space for themselves.” – Melanie Beals Goan, author of Mary Breckinridge: The Frontier Nursing Service and Rural Health in Appalachia
Forty-three women enrolled at UK in 1880. These women were the first to call themselves UK Wildcats; but although they enjoyed the privilege of identifying as students, their fight for equality, acceptance, and a proper education was not over. In OUR RIGHTFUL PLACE, Birdwhistell and Scaggs explore the trials and triumphs of early women pacemakers at UK between the years 1880 and 1945. Using archival documents, yearbooks, and rare photographs, Birdwhistell and Scaggs illuminate the untold stories of UK’s female pioneers who demanded a seat at the academic table.
“DiSavino’s meticulous scholarship delves into, exposes, and connects a wealth of primary sources to build a three-dimensional portrait of Katherine Jackson French while uncovering the mechanisms that conspired to silence this remarkable early twentieth-century scholar and ballad collector.” – Deborah J. Thompson, assistant professor and Appalachian Studies faculty at Berea College
In KATHERINE JACKSON FRENCH, Elizabeth DiSavino details the forgotten history of Kentucky native and Columbia graduate French, whose remarkable collection of traditional Kentucky ballads was withheld from print due to a contentious set of academic rivalries, broken promises, and long-held gender prejudices. In her place, famed artists like northerner Olive Dame Campbell and English folklorist Cecil Sharp rose to prominence. In French’s erasure, Appalachia lost a powerful voice – a voice for women, for people, everywhere. DiSavino’s scholarly re-examination of French’s would-be legacy brings that forgotten voice back to the light.
Already up to date on these titles? Peruse a few other recent titles we’re proud of: